Short version: Do not buy a car from Carvana.

Short version: Do not buy a car from Carvana.

Super long version: Do not buy a car from Carvana.  Here’s a recap of our terrible experience.

First, I will say that my mom loves the car.  She bought a Mini Cooper – and the car is great.  It’s exactly what she was looking for – and Carvana had quite a few to choose from.  (That’s the end of our positive experience.)

We filled out the paperwork online on a Thursday in the afternoon.  After filling out the paperwork, the actual date that we could pick up the car was a few days later than what we were given at the beginning of the process.  Disappointing, but not a deal breaker.  So far so good. 

That evening, we got a text alert that there was an additional piece of paperwork needed within 24 hours to keep our original pickup date.  We submitted it on Friday afternoon, well within the 24 hours.  On Saturday morning, we got a text alert that our information had not been verified, and our sale would be cancelled.  This was the first time we had to call customer service.

After a wait of at least 40 minutes, we were told that they don’t have anyone who verifies paperwork on the weekend – so even though we submitted it quickly, it wouldn’t be verified until Monday.  The agent manually changed the status so that the sale wouldn’t be cancelled.  (If we had not called, it would have been cancelled, I guess?)  Our pickup date was now an additional several days later.  Disappointing and confusing.  Rage level is only at a 1.  

Everything finally gets verified, our pickup date / time is set.  The day before our pickup, we get a call that the truck on which our car was traveling broke down.  The pickup date will now be several days later.  Hard to place blame.  Disappointing.

Pickup day has arrived!  We fill out paperwork, including a copy of the insurance that we have set up on the car, per their stated requirements.  The car has a mysteriously missing trim piece around the head light.  It was there when they took photos.  Now it’s gone.  But the super-fast-talking kid who worked with us assured us that he put in a service request, and that the piece will be FedEx’d to us and we can just “snap it in” ourselves, if we want.  We’ll get a call on Monday (it’s Saturday) with a tracking number.  Disappointing.  Mysterious.  Rage level is zero because the car is adorable.

It also turns out that one of the key fobs has a low battery.  But rest assured, our Carvana rep would replace the batteries in both fobs before we left.  After waiting about 20 minutes, he came out from the back office and mumbled something about how hard the batteries are to replace.  We left with the understanding that both batteries have been changed and that the trim piece will be on its way to us.

Still reading?  Hold on – we’re just getting started.

Monday morning, we get a weird text message from SilverRock – the warranty company – about a service ticket “we” entered.  We call.  Long wait.  Short version – they don’t FedEx trim pieces – that’s not even a thing that is done – and we have to take the car to an authorized service center.  We take it in, the service center does an estimate and sends it to SilverRock, and then we take it back for the work after they get authorization from SilverRock.   We are given a list of places close to us.  The locations are close by, but we did not expect to have to do any of it.  Frustrated.  A bit angry.  Wondering why the kid told us we’d get it via FedEx if that’s not even an option.  Rage level 3.

We called all the service centers were given.  They all say that they do not do body work, and body work is not covered under a SilverRock warranty anyway.  We’ll have to take it to the dealer.  (The closest Mini dealer is 2 hours away.)  Rage level 5.

We call Carvana.  We wait 30+ minutes.  The young lady who answered the phone was very nice.  She tells us that of course we have to take it to a dealer – it’s body work – but that SilverRock will cover it.  We have doubts.  She agreed to have a conference call with SilverRock on the phone with us.  The gentleman from SilverRock (who was not very nice) agreed that yes, it has to go to the dealer, but it can go to the BMW dealership that is only 40 minutes from our house.  Rage level is now at a 7.

Remember those key fobs?  The one that didn’t work at the Carvana pickup never did work.  We were going to have to take THAT to the dealership to have it looked at, because the battery had just been replaced.  Then the OTHER one stopped working.  We had to look up online how to get into the car with two dead key fobs.  How do we get the car to the dealership to look at the keys without any keys?   (I looked it up online.  It’s possible.  Sort of.)

I call the BMW dealership closer to our home.  Nancy is lovely angel.  I told her she’s the first helpful person that I’ve talked to.  As she’s starting to make an appointment to see us, she realizes that we’re talking about a Mini and they do not work with Mini’s, despite what SilverRock says.   Nancy offers to call and make an appointment with the Mini dealer that is 2 hours away from us – even though they are not at all affiliated with them in any way.  She just wanted to help.  (We decline because now we must figure out how to get the car there safely and when, because it’s a trip.)

On the very off chance that it was a low battery in the second key fob (maybe we misunderstood the kid at Carvana about changing BOTH batteries), we get new batteries and change it.  For shits and giggles, we change out the other one, too.  They both work.  He apparently never flippin’ changed either of the batteries.  Rage level?  11.   Er… 12.

But wait… there’s more.

We get a text message from Carvana that our registration can’t be processed because they need proof of insurance.  We’ve already given it to the kid when we picked up the car, but we upload it again.  We get this same text over the course of about two weeks FOUR times.  Each time, we upload the documentation.  We try different ones – the insurance card, the proof of insurance letter.  We tried calling the customer service line a few times but didn’t have the time to wait on hold.  (Always a “more than 40 minute” wait time.)  We tried texting – but never got a real person to talk to.  The canned automatic answers are unhelpful at best.  We tried using the online chat, but at 6:45 PM ET on a weekday we’re told that we can’t talk to a real person because their hours are only until 8 PM ET.  (Yeah, we didn’t get it, either.)  Rage level…whatever.

We finally get an email from an actual person.  Her email says that the name on the insurance isn’t the same as the name of the owner of the car.  My dad is listed as the policy holder with my mom as the additional covered driver.  The car is in my mom’s name.  We go online for answers.  On the PA DMV website, it confirms that this is totally fine.  Car can still be registered in my mom’s name.

We call Carvana and wait for a real person for more than TWO HOURS.  There isn’t even rage available anymore.  We’re all out.  The Carvana person confirms that they must have my mother’s name on the insurance as the policy holder.  They don’t seem to care that the PA DMV says otherwise. 

So now we call the insurance company.  Within a couple of minutes, we are connected to a real, wonderful, person.  We relay the story, wondering now if we have to change the names around on the policy?  Buy a second policy?  The lovely woman asks who told us this crazy thing.  We tell her.  She laughs and says (I’m paraphrasing), “You do not need to do any of that, but I’ll just give you a copy of the paperwork with your mom’s name as the policy owner.  We don’t have to change a thing.”  Within 5 minutes I have the paperwork in my email inbox.  She stays with me to confirm that we have the document and it opens up just fine.

We email said documents back to Carvana.  They are accepted.  There is virtually nothing different about them than the first five copies we gave them.

Honestly, this story sounds fake.  If anything, we’ve left off a few frustrating phone calls because the sequence is a bit fuzzy at this point.  My advice?  If you love the car, find it somewhere else.   It is not worth losing your capacity to feel anger.

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